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California Gov. Gavin Newsom refuses parole for Manson supporter Leslie Van Houten

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday blocked parole for Charles Manson supporter Leslie Van Houten, overturning a panel’s recommendation that she be released after serving half a century in prison.

Van Houten, 72, “currently poses an unacceptable threat to society to be released from prison at this time,” Newsom said in his parole review. It was the fifth time a California governor opposed her release.

Her attorney, Rich Pfeiffer, disputed that view and said the decision will be challenged in court. He accused Newsom of declining parole because he was worried about “his political future” and noted that Van Houten had an immaculate disciplinary record in prison.

“We’re not fighting for Leslie to be a good person. She has proven that through her actions for half a century,” he said.

Van Houten is serving a life sentence for helping Manson and others kill Los Angeles grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary in August 1969. Van Houten was 19 when she and other cult members fatally stabbed the LaBiancas and smeared the pair’s blood on the walls.

The day before, other Manson supporters, not including Van Houten, killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others.

In his rejection letter, Newsom noted that Van Housen had undergone therapy, earned educational degrees and attended self-help classes while in prison and had shown “increased maturity and rehabilitation.”

But Van Houten also has “insight gaps” that continue to make her a danger to society, Newsom said.

This March 29, 1971 photo shows Leslie Van Houten in a Los Angeles jail.  On Tuesday, March 29, 2022, California Gov. Gavin Newsom blocked the parole of Charles Manson supporter Van Houten and reversed a panel's recommendation that she be released after serving half a century in prison.
This March 29, 1971 photo shows Leslie Van Houten in a Los Angeles jail. On Tuesday, March 29, 2022, California Gov. Gavin Newsom blocked the parole of Charles Manson supporter Van Houten and reversed a panel’s recommendation that she be released after serving half a century in prison.
AP photo/file

Van Houten has had 21 parole hearings since 1982. Most parole boards denied her request for freedom. But five panels have recommended her release since 2016, saying she has expressed remorse and is no longer a threat to public safety.

Newsom rejected a recommendation made last November.

He previously reversed parole recommendations in 2019 and 2020. In February, the California Supreme Court refused to hear Van Houten’s appeal of the 2020 denial.

Former Gov. Jerry Brown denied Van Houten’s parole in 2016 and 2018.

Manson died of natural causes in a California hospital in 2017 while serving a life sentence.

https://nypost.com/2022/03/30/california-gov-gavin-newsom-rejects-parole-for-manson-follower-leslie-van-houten/ California Gov. Gavin Newsom refuses parole for Manson supporter Leslie Van Houten

JACLYN DIAZ

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